Resident Aliens

The second of an occasional series of posts on the experience of immigration and the journey toward naturalization

The first time we passed through US Immigration, and we were directed into the line for Aliens, the children were all under ten, and they thought it was funny and cool.

It’s a technical term, I know; an immigration status. It says nothing about our personhood, our qualities or qualifications as human beings, our dignity or value.

Still, that’s the thing about language. I know that the term is not meant to be loaded, but it hits the one termed “alien” like a sock with a rock at the bottom. Unless she’s under ten.

I’m not complaining. We came as guests to this place and have been treated with consistent courtesy by immigration officials, with cute curiosity by strangers; we have been generously embraced by our new friends.  And now, I have received an invitation to get my fingerprints taken and my biometrics captured so that my application for citizenship can be processed.

Don’t forget, the invitation stresses, to bring your Alien Registration Card.

“And you are to love those who are aliens, for you yourselves were aliens in Egypt.” Deuteronomy 10: 19

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